As the month starts, the Sun lies within the constellation of Capricornus, the
Sea Goat until it crosses the border with Aquarius on the 16th at around 17h, where it remains until the month’s end.
The Moon’s perigee (nearest to the Earth) occurs at 09h on the 19th, and apogee (furthest from the Earth) is on the 5th at 09h.
Moon is on the 4th at 21h04 in the constellation of Capricornus, 3° south of the Sun..
takes place on the 12th at 22h27 on the Taurus/Aries border.
Full Moon is on the 19th at 15h54 in
the constellation of Leo, just to the east of Regulus (alpha Leonis), Leo’s brightest star.
Last Quarter Moon
is on Feb 26th at 11h28 in the northern part of Scorpius, near the Ophiuchus border.
Look out for ‘Earthshine’
illuminating the dark hemisphere of the waxing crescent Moon from the 5th to the 11th . Look also for earthshine on the waning crescent Moon from the 1st to the 5th and the 377th and 28th.
Earthshine is a beautiful naked eye phenomenon, but if you turn your binoculars towards the Moon, it is a truly magical sight.
As February progresses, Mercury (in Pisces), becomes more readily visible in the evening sky and reaches its
greatest eastern elongation (18°) on the 26th. Look for the planet in the western sky during the second half of the month between 18h and 19h, using binoculars to locate the planet in the fading evening twilight in that direction. As the month
ends, you should be able to spot Mercury with the unaided eye, when, for example, just after 18h the planet is 11° above the WSW horizon. There is no other bright star-like object in that direction, so the planet cannot be mistaken for anything else.
It becomes obvious during February that Venus is moving in towards the Sun. At the start of the month the planet rises three
hours before the Sun, but only one hour at the end. Through a small telescope, the planet exhibits a gibbous phase. Lying in the constellation of Sagittarius, Venus passes 1° north of Saturn on the 18th.
Mars at visual magnitude +1 is visible in the evening sky as soon as it gets dark, until it sets at about 23h30 throughout the month. The planet is moving rapidly eastwards,
crossing the Pisces/Aries border on the 12th. On the 13th at 22h, Mars is in conjunction with Uranus and the two planets are separated by an angular distance of 1° (two moon widths). Find Mars at an altitude of 12° in the west.
Uranus lies to the lower left of Mars and has a magnitude of +5.8, so in order to see Uranus and Mars together, use binoculars, when at low power, they should be in the same field. The broad waxing crescent Moon is also in conjunction with Mars at 20h on the
10th. The Moon is 7° south of Mars at the time.
Jupiter rises at around 05h as February begins, but
shortly after 03h at the month’s end. The planet is in conjunction with the Moon on the 27th, and the broad waning crescent just after Last Quarter will be seen approaching Jupiter, in the constellation of Ophiuchus, during the early hours
of the morning. At 05h the two are just over 4° apart.
The season for observing the planet with its satellites is under way, so sharply focussed firmly fixed binoculars will reveal the disc of
the planet and the ever-changing positions of the Galilean satellites.
As February progresses, Saturn becomes more
readily visible in the early morning sky, and rises at around 05h at the month’s end. It is still at a low altitude in the constellation of Sagittarius and much dimmer (visual magnitude +1.3) than Venus (-4.0), further over to the left of Saturn by the
end of the month. The two planets however, are in conjunction during the morning of the 18th, and should be looked for low in the SE sky at around 06h, when they are 5° above the horizon as twilight begins. At this time, the pair are separated by just
over 1.5° (three moon widths). During 2019 the northern surface of the rings are still well-presented towards the Earth
Uranus is visible in the evening sky, but sets by 23h mid-month. Its conjunction with Mars has already been noted. The path of the planet throughout the month on the Pisces/Aries border, can
be found on the Remote Planets page via the MENU/MORE tab.
Neptune, isstill in the constellation of Aquarius, and
is visible for a short while as a faint object in binoculars or a telescope in the early evening, at magnitude +7.9. On the 19th at 18h, and 6° above the western horizon, Mercury is in conjunction with Neptune, when the two are separated by
just over 1°, Neptune lying to the south of Mercury. As there is still some degree of twilight in the sky, this is a difficult observation because of the faintness of Neptune. Look at the Remote planets page for the path of Neptune throughout 2019. It
is interesting to note that two of the brighter inner planets, Mercury and Mars are in the same line of sight as the two far dimmer and remote gas giants, Uranus and Neptune.
There are no major meteor showers during the month, and so we expect to see the normal background rate of four noticeable events during each hour of the night.
FEBRUARY 2019 (Summary)
The phenomena of the month : February 2019
Times are given in UT for SCARBOROUGH (0° 25' 0" W, 54° 16' 3" N, zone 0).
Date Hour Description of the phenomenon
yyyy mm dd hh:mm
2019 02 01 06:22 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 02 02 15:32 Maximum of the variable star delta
2019 02 04 03:11 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 02 04 08:01 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
02 04 21:03 NEW MOON
2019 02 05 00:31 Comet 123P West-Hartley at its perihelion (dist. to the Sun = 2.127 AU; magn. = 12.7)
2019 02 05 09:26 Moon at apogee (geocentric dist.
= 406555 km)
2019 02 06 04:16 Opposition of the asteroid 532 Herculina with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.395 AU; magn. = 8.9)
2019 02 07 00:00 Minimum of the variable star
Algol (beta Persei)
2019 02 08 00:19 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2019 02 08 15:16 Maximum of the variable star zeta Geminorum
2019 02 09 20:50 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 02 11 11:59 Close encounter between Venus and M 22 (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 2.7°)
2019 02 11 12:15 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2019 02 12 17:39 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 02 12 22:26 FIRST QUARTER OF THE MOON
2019 02 13 02:32 Minimum of the variable star beta Lyrae
2019 02 13 05:46 Close encounter between Mars and Uranus (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 1.0°)
2019 02 13 09:07 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2019 02 15 14:28 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 02 18 03:49 Close
encounter between the Moon and M 44 (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 1.4°)
2019 02 18 05:49 Beginning of occultation of 47-delta Cnc, Asellus Australis, (magn. = 3.94)
2019 02 18 06:33 End of occultation of 47-delta Cnc, Asellus Australis, (magn. = 3.94)
2019 02 18 11:18 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 02 18
11:59 Close encounter between Venus and Saturn (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 1.1°)
2019 02 18 16:29 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2019 02 18 17:55
Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2019 02 18 18:52 Maximum of the variable star zeta Geminorum
2019 02 19 05:46 Close encounter between Mercury and Neptune (topocentric
dist. centre to centre = 0.7°)
2019 02 19 09:06 Moon at perigee (geocentric dist. = 356761 km)
2019 02 19 15:53 FULL MOON
02 20 06:30 Beginning of occultation of 53 Leo (magn. = 5.32)
2019 02 21 08:07 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 02 23 05:30 Close encounter between Venus
and Pluto (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 1.4°)
2019 02 24 02:42 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2019 02 24 04:56 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta
2019 02 25 08:00 Mercury at its perihelion (distance to the Sun = 0.30749 AU)
2019 02 25 20:43 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2019 02 26 01:07 Minimum of the variable star beta Lyrae
2019 02 26 11:28 LAST QUARTER OF THE MOON
2019 02 27 00:00 GREATEST EASTERN ELONGATION of Mercury (18.1°)
2019 02 27 01:46 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 02 27 15:53 Opposition of the asteroid 349 Dembowska with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 3.118 AU; magn. = 10.3)
2019 02 28 22:29 Maximum of the variable star zeta Geminorum
Generated using COELIX APEX software